HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Do you ever have enough cookbooks?

Do you ever have enough cookbooks? When you want another one where do you look? Amazon, Ebay, local bookstore?
My mothers life has revolved around cooking. We are downsizing her to move into a smaller place and I need to find new homes for some of her books...about 300. Where do you typically shop?

Thank you!
Sherry G

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Personally, I'm not a fan of cookbooks... they don't have the lovely photographs that draw me to try something new. That said, I have stacks and stacks and stacks of cooking magazines-- primarily Cooking Light and Bon Appetit, with the occasional Gourmet and Food + Wine.

      So yes, I do have enough cookbooks-- Harold McGee's compendium, plus Sherry Yard's dessert cookbook that I use as a coffee table book.

      2 Replies
      1. re: amandine

        Ohmygosh, she has tons of magazines too, alot I have bundeled up for recycling, and boxed the others she wants to keep. I don't cook much myself, so I call her first, then search the internet if I need to!

        1. re: gardenweaver

          If she collected Saveur, the first issue can go for up to 200 smackers on ebay. I sold one for $175.

      2. I have about 450 it expands and receives

        1 Reply
        1. re: Candy

          I should have added that I buy most of mine at Half Price Books and on Amazon. When I need to thin some out I donate them to my local Red Cross book sale and get a tax credit for the donation

        2. I get lots from ebay, overstock and amazon. And I get some from local shops. I met someone who had a strict limit on her cookbook collection. If she got a new book, an old one had to go. She said it was the only way to keep the collection within reason. I haven't reached that point yet, my books just swamp everything.

          1. I've decided my cookbook collection would take more space than I could afford so I've kept to the basics and then if I need something special, I go to the internet. I have bought special editions of used books from alibris.com (books that I used to have and decided I couldn't live without). Alibris is a great resource for used books to both buy and sell.

            1. I collect cookbooks! usually add new books to my collection through library book sales or thrift store finds.
              If you want to find a new home for some of the books, you could donate them to your local library. Your timing is perfect for end of year
              tax benefits.

              1. I collect them too! Some I test out first from the library or if I see recipes from them online or in the paper. Others I'll get from second hand bookstores, Amazon, or as gifts. I keep telling myself I *should* have enough cookbooks, but that doesn't seem to stop me from buying more. I have gotten better lately, though. :)

                1. I've been collectig cook books forever and feel I have reached critical mass. I purged recently and really adore all of the ones I kept. My mother was a spectacular cook and I inherited her grease stained Julia Childs's, some old French and Italian ones and some Paula Wolferts (my faves). I rarely see one these days that I'll shell out big bucks for. I have many ethnics too which I use all of the time.

                  1. Are any of the books out of print? As for magazines, Cooks Illustrated lots do sell on eBay (you won't get a lot, but you can look on eBay to see how much they're fetching), whereas no one would normally be interested in old Gourmets or Bon Appetits.

                    If you have any books you think might be valuable, you can check bookfinder.com and see what they're generally going for.

                    1. I just joined this club www.thegoodcook.com
                      Great deal on 5 books and only have to purchase one more.

                      1. I have so many cookbooks I'm a bit ashamed when people come over. They look at my bookshelf, and instead of seeing War & Peace or the latest hip novel, all they see is The Art of Braising, Larousse Gastromonique, etc etc.

                        I collect old school cookbooks too. My Graham Kerr "The Galloping Gourmet" cookbook sits in a proud place in my kitchen, with Graham looking out at me in that debonair way of his that originally got me interested in food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rayhnyc

                          Since we're all confessing, I too love cookbooks and they are the first stop I go to at second hand stores and garage sales. I would suggest taking some to a used book store to see what they'll buy OR have a big yard sale and see what you can get for them! Ebay and Craigslist would also be my suggestions.

                        2. The answer to your question on whether one can ever have enough cookbooks is a resounding "Yes!"

                          I long since reached critical mass. I have a couple dozen cookbooks that I use frequently and a few dozen more than I never look at, ever. (I'm not talking about books about food that aren't cookbooks, of which I have a couple dozen more as well.)

                          The last thing I want is another gift cookbook that has maybe one recipe in it I'm interested in. There isn't enough bookshelf space in the world for this stuff.

                          I'd rather find new recipes from magazines or on the Internet.

                          1. i usually get them from the library through the exchange program , i can get one from anywhere in the province. i don't have nearly enough tho

                            1. I buy most of my cookbooks from local used bookstores, and I never have enough. I've also been known to go nuts on Powell's web site. ( http://www.powellsbooks.com


                              If you need the money and have tons of time, you could sell the cookbooks online. You'd need to research prices on eBay/Amazon/Powells/bookfinder.com, then set yourself up as a seller on eBay or Amazon. This would take lots of time, though, for research, setting up PayPal, taking pictures/writing descriptions, handling email communication, shipping, etc. I wouldn't do this myself unless I had some really rare and valuable books or nothing else to do (but if your mom is moving, I'll bet y'all are pretty busy :-).

                              Call a few local used bookstores and ask them what their buying prices are on cookbooks. (Note that buying prices tend to be 5%-10% of cover price, or less; used books aren't a big moneymaker.) If there's a bookstore that has a good selection of cookbooks, they might pay more for recent, popular, or collectable books. Half Price Books (if there's one in your area) doesn't pay much, but they'll take almost anything.

                              Or, if money isn't an issue, donate to the library or Goodwill.


                              P.S. Best wishes to your mom on her move - she and I are kindred spirits! I'll be in her shoes eventually unless I find an assisted-living place that has a huge central library where all the residents keep their books. And a communal kitchen where we can go to reminisce and help knead bread once in a while. Now that's an idea!!!

                              1. Aside from gravitating towards the cookbooks at every antique mall and flea market we go to, plus the yard sales and rummage sales, we have an excellent used-cookbook store just up the street from us. Yesterday's trip to the Pasadena City College monthly flea market netted me seven cookbooks, at least three of which are not worth keeping, so at some point I'll make a trip up to Washington Blvd. and see about horsetrading down, if she'll swap one I want for the several I don't. I'm right at about 400 books right now, most of them keepers, and just flat out of shelf space, so you can see I need to reel it in somehow!

                                1. Thank you everybody, now I know she's not crazy!! I have been contacting some of the booksellers you have listed here! Thank you so much for your help!


                                  1. I can never get enough cookbooks-they are a great part of my library-I like the travel and food combination ones-any to be exact-color photos make them even better